African Union Troops Reach Outskirts Of Mogadishu

By Salon Staff

Published January 20, 2012 8:36AM (EST)

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Residents and military officials say heavy fighting is under way in Somalia's capital, breaking a period of calm.

The spokesman for the African Union peacekeeping force said Friday that the AU troops have pushed forward to the outskirts of the capital for the first time so that they can defend Mogadishu from the perimeter. He said AU troops have captured "strategic" bases from militants.

Abdirahman Ahmed, a resident, said he woke to the sound of mortars and gunfire. Hundreds of residents in Mogadishu's northern neighborhoods fled the violence.

AU troops over the last year have largely succeeded in pushing al-Shabab militants out of the capital, though contested pockets remain. Militants continue to carry out suicide and roadside bomb attacks.

Salon Staff

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